Downsizing has been a challenge but it was really the emotional process of letting things go. The idea that a bigger house garnered more respect and prestige. That you need that space in case you had guests or threw a big party. What would people think of me for giving up a big beautiful house for something in a quieter neighborhood that wasn’t so trendy?
Six months after the move I have to say it was the best decision we ever made. I have a house that suits my personality and we are finding that living away from the chaos of downtown is actually very pleasant and less stressful. I never have to fight for a parking space or worry about someone rummaging through my garbage cans.
The idea of bigger is better is something that is pretty ingrained into us as Americans and it’s a hard habit to break. Living smaller doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style or giving up things that are important to you. It’s distilling down to the things that have meaning to you and discarding the rest.
We are by no means living tiny, but in comparison to our old home we are living in about 70% less space. Our house is roughly 1600 square feet but we don’t have a garage or a basement. There are times I wish I had a little place to hide things that I don’t want to look at everyday like Christmas decorations and old tax records but we are managing just fine without a garage. We are actually finding that even in this small space we aren’t able to use all the rooms that we have available and I still fell that I could purge some more items that we just don’t need.
Getting rid of the notion that you need to hang on to things because you might just need them someday is an important step in scaling back. Take a hard look at things you’ve been holding onto and ask yourself why you have it. Does it give you pleasure to look at? Does it make you happy? Does it serve a specific purpose? If you can’t answer yes to those questions it’s probably time to let it go.
One of the biggest benefits of living smaller is that with the money we made from selling our house we are able to buy new furniture and start over with a clean slate. It’s critical when downsizing to make sure to designate a space for everything. We had some custom built-ins designed that would help control clutter and give everything a place to live. Getting rid of our books was the hardest thing we did. We had spent so many years collecting them but at the end of the day we realized that it just wasn’t worth cluttering our space to keep them. So we went through and just kept the ones that were special to us and donated the rest. Wanting to have a good place to display them was important so we commissioned this custom bookcase to hold our favorite books and special pieces. I couldn’t be happier with the result. It’s a big piece but I think it really makes a statement and I absolutely love it.
We are planning a kitchen remodel next and have just started a huge garden remodel so I will be sharing our process with you as we go. It’s taken some time and patience but I am so much more comfortable, less stressed and happy in our new home. If you are looking to scale back, start small and take it one day at a time, you won’t regret it.